Amtrak to Passengers: 'We Are Not Holding You Hostage'

Train conductor actually had to say that after nightmare trip that stretched to 37 hours
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2023 10:15 AM CST
'Nightmare' Train Trip Stretches to 37 Hours
An Amtrak train departs Philadelphia on Oct. 27, 2021.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A train conductor had to tell some 500 passengers aboard a stranded Amtrak train that they weren't being held hostage as what should have been a 17-hour trip stretched beyond 29 hours. Some passengers began calling police in frustration given what Insider describes as a "nightmare" trip, which finally concluded Wednesday after 37 hours. The train had left Lorton, Virginia, at 5pm Monday and was expected to reach Sanford, Florida, by 10am Tuesday. However, it had to reroute in South Carolina after a CSX freight train collided with a wrecked vehicle on the tracks in Lake City.

Then the Amtrak Auto Train was stopped in Denmark, South Carolina, when the crew "timed out and became unable to legally operate it," WPDE reports. It didn't get rolling again until just before 10pm Tuesday, some 29 hours into the journey. But it had to stop again in Savannah, Georgia, so crews could unload trash and pick up food. During the initial stop, passengers were told there were no meals left, per WPDE. There were also complaints of "gross" bathrooms. Some on board responded by calling 911, though officials warned that local police were unable to help.

"For those of you that are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage," passengers were told via loudspeaker. "We are giving you all the information which we have. We are sorry about the inconvenience." Conductors also warned passengers not to open windows to smoke or vape, per ABC News. Amtrak said Tuesday that it was "providing regular updates to customers, along with meals, snack packs, and beverages." It also said it was "working with pet owners to provide bathroom breaks." ABC reports the 563 passengers and 333 vehicles on board finally reached their destination after a 20-hour delay. (More Amtrak stories.)

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